JERUSALEM, Israel -- On Friday, organizers of the Global March to Jerusalem hope to further their goal of liberating Jerusalem from the "illegal Zionist occupation." It's a concept they apply to all of "occupied Palestine."
The group chose March 30 to coincide with Palestinian "Land Day" and predicts "massive marches" at Israel's northern and southern borders, the "West Bank" (Israel's biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces are preparing for Friday's march and plan to incorporate lessons they learned during border protests at last June's commemoration of the "Nakba." Nakba is an Arabic term meaning "catastrophe," which they use to describe the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
The European Preparatory Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem, whose membership includes the U.K.'s Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Gaza Movement, invited people across Europe to take part in the "legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people."
"We say no to Zionism and to an exclusive Jewish colonial state, which reacts to the legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people with the expansion of its apartheid rule," the invitation read.
The rhetoric is strikingly familiar to the Free Gaza Movement's aim to confront "Israel's ongoing abuses of Palestinian human and political rights."
Rising Muslim populations in Europe and the U.S. equate Zionism with oppression and promote the theory that the Jewish people are the interlopers and have no legitimate claim to Israel or Jerusalem.
Iran is actively promoting the event, the Israeli-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported earlier this month. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran should support all movements and groups operating against Jerusalem.
Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip plan to participate in the march, aimed in part "to end the Zionist policies of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaization" of Israel's capital.
"We paid a lot in blood in order to keep Jerusalem an Arabic and Islamic city," Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on February 24. "The Arab Spring brought the Islamic nation to the threshold of the city of Jerusalem."
In a position paper published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' Jerusalem Viewpoints, author Ehud Rosen analyzed the rise of the international campaign to delegitimize Israel.
He cites the September 2001 U.N.-sponsored conference in Durban, South Africa, as major turning point in that campaign. It labeled Israel an apartheid state that engaged in ethnic cleansing and promoted genocide -- and urged the international community to isolate and boycott the Jewish state.
The Arab Spring, Rosen says, bolstered this increasing campaign to delegitimize Israel since it strengthened the rise of Sunni Islam in such countries as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait and Morocco.